Health officials in Moniteau County, Missouri have announced that they are investigating an ongoing outbreak of Shigellosis in the county. The outbreak is linked to Tipton School District, where at least 70 students, faculty, and family members have been sickened. Shigella infections are very contagious, and can spread very quickly. Shigella outbreaks commonly occur in schools and daycares, where poor hygiene allows the bacteria to thrive and spread. Shigella outbreaks are also common in other crowded places, such as cruise ships.
Shigella is a family of bacteria that causes an illness in humans called Shigellosis. Symptoms of Shigella poisoning can appear within a few days of infection, and will usually produce symptoms including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever. Although many cases will clear up within a week, doctors may prescribe an antibiotic if the infection is more serious. Children, those living in group housing, and those living in areas with poor sanitation are at an increased risk of developing a serious Shigella infection. If you or a loved one begins to show the symptoms of Shigellosis, contact a medical professional.
Shigella is usually spread through contact with contaminated fecal matter. This makes outbreaks at daycares and schools especially serious, as children often do not have the best personal hygiene. Toddlers (ages 2 to 4) are most often affected by Shigella outbreaks. If your child is showing symptoms of Shigella poisoning, do not send them to school or daycare.